Tired of hustling? Time to play hooky

Introducing: the "No-Working" Space

Behind the launch of Hooky Wellness, self-care's response to hustle culture’s mental and physical downsides.

If you dream of starting a company and wonder what it’s like running the day-to-day of a business, you've come to the right place. In our series Startup Diaries, we ask new founders to take us to work for a day, and reflect on what they discovered during the process.

These days, burnout, stress, and anxiety are plaguing the professional world. Today, we go to work with a founder who left corporate America to help address this issue. Erayna Sargent is the founder of Hooky Wellness, hustle culture’s first “no-working” space, launching in Detroit. The space will offer members comprehensive wellness, therapy, coaching, and mindfulness resources, helping members to disconnect from the world and reconnect with themselves.


Morning

8:30am -- My alarms started going off at 6:45am, but the weight of losing Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others the day before still hangs in the air, so my husband and I decide to stay in the bed a little longer. Around 8:20am, both of our hands make their way to our respective phones. A quick refresh of email, Instagram, and Twitter and then I finally hop out of the bed.

8:40am -- We didn’t get to the gym as planned but I decide to do a quick yoga flow with the help of a YouTube video. I’m reminded that I am a little rusty but am still happy that I started my day this way. I make a mental note to get to a CorePower class with that instructor I really liked who had raved about her recent visit to Detroit.

9:00am -- I open the blinds in our living room to let in the rising sun, one of the best parts of living in a corner apartment. I spend a few moments focused on gratitude and appreciation while recognizing that tomorrow is not promised. I write strong affirmations to reinforce my confidence as I prepare to fundraise in the coming weeks.

9:30am -- I scroll through my podcast subscriptions deciding on if I want to be inspired by TED or Oprah’s Soul Sessions, jump straight into work mode with How I Built This or The Pitch, or zone out a little with The Read or Scam Goddess. Today, inspiration wins so I go with the TED Talk on Creativity and jump in the shower. I throw on one of my company’s Go L#VE Yourself shirts and set up my office for the day in our apartment’s free conference room. I work from home but to keep things interesting, I rotate between our apartment, the conference room and my favorite local coffee shops.

10:00am -- Catch up on emails.

10:30am -- I have my bi-weekly coaching call. My coach is one of my past co-workers who has recently pivoted into coaching. We’ve been working together for a little over a month and I like the objective perspective and accountability that she provides. Today we discuss my wins for the week and revisit progress towards my milestones.

11:30am -- First, I review the first week of our member sign up campaign for the first location in Detroit. I am happy to see that we have over 400 new signups and a few emails with job inquiries! I respond thanking them for their interest and letting them know that we should be hiring in a few months. I shoot a note to my head of therapy operations and we decide to create a seperate subscriber list for employment inquiries. I use the rest of the morning and early afternoon to work on upcoming social & email content.

"Things are changing; how do we make it so founders like myself are not always hearing such negative stories about how we’re not going to be able to do it?"

Afternoon

2:00pm -- I head back to the apartment to grab lunch and shoot my friends a text about our lunch plans for Thursday. We all work from home so we meet up once a week to break up the monotony. This week, one of them is hosting us with a vegan spread. I switch Spotify from my headphones to the soundbar and Tom Misch fills the apartment. I flip through the latest Fast Company and play Angry Birds Dream Blast to let my brain breathe for 10 minutes before I jump back in.

2:45pm -- I head back to the conference room with my whiteboard to start sketching out the updates I’m planning for my pitch deck. I translate my notes into Powerpoint, then send the latest draft to my team for feedback.

5:00pm -- I wrap the day responding to emails and reach out to a few entrepreneurs to get their insights on a couple VC’s of interest.

Evening

6:15pm -- My husband comes home, we talk about our days and I start dinner. I enjoy cooking because it is therapeutic for me. Tonight I combine the pork shoulder that I slow cooked with a potato hash. I topp it all with a fried egg and hot sauce and it reminds us of Tanta, one of our favorite restaurants from when we lived in Chicago. I like that cooking keeps my hands occupied so I don’t grab my laptop as I normally would.

7:45pm -- I do a quick burnout check using this tool that I made called “Burnout Bingo.” I’ve burned out twice and in an effort to avoid doing it a third time, I am working to be more cognizant of how I feel day-to-day. Burnout Bingo is an easy way to quickly do that. Today I mark ‘trouble sleeping’ but recognize that it might be because of the news about Kobe Bryant and others versus persistent symptoms.

8:00pm -- I join my husband on the couch and we watch something light like The Good Place that allows me to multi-task.

10:00pm --Time to catch up on Power so I close the laptop. I check my schedule for tomorrow then set it down for the day. I finish my day watching to figure out who shot Ghost.

How did this day compare to a normal or ideal day?

Normal implies that there is some consistency! This day felt pretty standard. One of the things I’ve learned as I’m switching from corporate America to entrepreneurship full-time is that there is so much value in having consistency in your schedule. In corporate, you often have meetings across the organization that happen on a regular basis, but I’m creating it all from scratch. The day that I did my diary was within the first two weeks of me trying out a new, more structured schedule.

How do you normally stay organized and on task?

One of the biggest tricks I use in managing my professional and personal life is creating my goals, whether that’s an annual or quarterly basis. I create my yearly goals and break them down quarterly and it allows me to look at the three months and schedule out which tasks I need to accomplish in order to reach my quarterly goals. Having forethought on what I’m trying to achieve and then using a timeline is one of the most helpful things I’ve found. If you look at the end destination and break it down into more approachable chunks you can track your progress, and it’s much harder to quit.

"One of the best lessons I’ve learned is to do it even if you’re scared—and you will continue to be scared of different things and at different points as you have new experiences. Just keep going, and do it scared."

Is there anything you’d like to change or do differently?

One of the things I discovered while doing the diary is that I need to schedule more thinking time. Carving that time is one of the things that I’m going to do moving forward, one day in the middle of the week, like a Wednesday, where I have no meetings and can catch up on strategy, thinking, thoughts.

What’s your experience been like as a Black woman founder?

It is an exciting time to be an entrepreneur! There are new programs and resources, a growing supportive community and daily examples of what is possible. But it can be challenging to read so many articles day in and day out about how people who look like me are not getting funding. It’s great that there’s awareness on it, but as a first-time woman of color founder, I have to stop reading because that can very quickly reinforce negative thoughts. There are women founders getting funding every day. Things are changing; how do we make it so founders like myself are not always hearing such negative stories about how we’re not going to be able to do it?

Every day I hype myself up so that I can try to change the world in the way that I’m trying to. What Supermaker is doing is amazing—I read the different diaries and they make me feel like I’m not alone.

How does your life as a founder compare to what you thought it was going to be?

I actually didn’t think I was going to be a founder. I always thought I was going to be in corporate America, so I’m figuring it out as I go, but I’m having some fun with it. My intentions for the year are trust, consistency, and progress. One thing I try to make more of a regular occurance is celebrating the small wins. My husband and I have a win wall and every week we’ll reflect on the wins, everything from business to our personal lives. It’s about taking a few minutes to reflect and think about things we want to change or stay the same. Having a win-wall can help even if you’re bombarded by negative stories or getting down by how crazy the world is.

What are your current business goals and how did this day tie into that?

We’re gearing up for fundraising for our inaugural location opening in Detroit in late summer or early fall, and this day tied into both of these things. We’re looking for our first space right now, we started our early member sign up list in January and we’re already over 1,100. We’re going to be putting up more information about our membership sign up, and then we’re in talks about the Hooky Day campaign, where we encourage working professionals to take a day off and repurpose it for self care. We’re looking at it for this spring and summer, we’ll be sharing more about that soon in our newsletter.

Do you have any words of advice for new founders—especially Black founders?

Do it afraid. With everything in the world, there’s a lot of fear right now, and if you’re a first-time founder you don’t know what you’re doing—no one knows what they’re doing. But one of the best lessons I’ve learned is to do it even if you’re scared—and you will continue to be scared of different things and at different points as you have new experiences. Just keep going, and do it scared.

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